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Hop, Skip, and a Jump

 

Yesterday I made the third significant step in my transition and now I wait.

I was thinking about the last year, as it's been about a year since I took action on my gender dysphoria and along the way there has been three significant steps.

First step, the hop, was the decision to even address it. I had spent a lot of my life burying my sense of self because I had been marginalized in my own head to the point that I felt I had to resist it. Living in a world where you felt the need to hide a secret "shame" is a painful way to exist and so I built coping strategies, harmful ones. When I talk about seeking help through therapy, it is about that, unlearning things and learning new things about who I am.

For all of the challenges I had with some of the more archaic notions my therapist sometimes threw at me, the fact that she really helped me to think through my own internal battles really made a difference. I would not underestimate the value of being able to think through how you arrived at a place and then challenge it.

The second step, the skip, was to seek hormone replacement therapy. Hormones are powerful, arguably the most powerful biochemical driver in our minds and bodies, and I believe that when they're right, you know it. The first couple of months of HRT are largely internal, very little visibly physical changes happen and so, if they are not right for you, you can stop with little consequences. In the first few months, the effects are reversible, you stop and the old hormones kick back in and go to work. However, for me, it was very clear very quickly that they were right for me. 

Even therapy, getting comfortable with who I am, didn't alter the habits that were slowly destroying me, starting HRT did that. As my partner said, if the choice is hormones or alcohol, alcohol didn't stand a chance. With HRT came a host of changes in my lifestyle as well, including eating substantially healthier and exercising (albeit, winter crimped that, I have no cold tolerance).

The most recent step, the jump, is that I submitted the massive pile of forms to the government for my name and gender change on my birth records. I don't have the results yet, it takes 6 to 8 weeks, but assuming no issues, the legal portion of my identity will come into alignment with who I am. That will help a lot with getting all of the current sources of deadnaming and misgendering sorted out. This process is just the start of a fairly lengthy one that will then kick in. Once I get the paperwork back, it's then update driver's license, health card, passport, banks, service providers, and a whole host more. It's a lengthy list! 

I'm in a fortunate position, I can afford the costs associated with this activity, but these do add up. Aside from the fees being charged just to change my name and gender, there's fees for driver's license, passport, and more. It will be hundreds of dollars when it is done. As good as Canada is when it comes to supporting and enabling trans people to be themselves, the barriers in place are still pretty real and I am reminded, yet again, that there is still work to be done.

I've spent
So much time
At war with
Myself, I have
Forgotten
I am the wall
of my home

Forgive her, and she
Will forgive you, too
No matter how many times
You asked her to break

— my relationship with my body

– Wilder

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